Namaste... God Bless You
The word screeched across my uptight mind, causing momentary confusion. Nama..what? I had no idea what the new age hippy girl could possibly mean. Having never heard the word, but seeing the kindness on her face, and hearing her gentle voice, I figured it couldn't be a bad word. Well, not too bad. It wasn't in the bible. I did know that much.
I felt guilty, even entering the metaphysics store. I rationalized that I was there looking for a gift. Certainly not anything for myself. I saw so many thing which filled me with fear. My strict religion would never entertain looking at these books, much less studying them. There were books on angels, crystals, healing, chakra, yoga...... I felt surrounded by a different universe.
Hurriedly, I selected a book, a gift for one of my enlightened daughters, and hurried to the counter. And that is when the woman with the kind eyes uttered the strange word that I had never before heard.
She smiled as she said it, her eyes meeting mine. I felt lost in the depths of her gaze, momentarily transfixed as her eyes pulled me in, seeing me more deeply and intimately than I had ever been seen.
Quickly I averted my eyes, grabbed my package, and headed out the door, my head spinning with wonder and fear. Something ignited deep within my spirit and beneath the fear, I felt warmth and love. I tried to remember the word. I muttered it under my breath, until something distracted me, and I lost it again.
My next encounter with the word took place in a yoga studio. Although I had exercised on my own, running and doing exercise videos, including yoga, it had been ages since I had participated in an organized fitness class.
The yoga class was different than I had expected. I had done yoga at home for years, and was familiar with the basic poses. But there was something more in the class, something that spoke to my heart. The combination of breathing, and poses, along with the gentle guidance of my friend, the class instructor, allowed me to open differently than I had in the past.
And at the end of the class, as we arose from the final resting pose, she uttered that mysterious and beautiful word again.
This time though, I was determined to find the meaning behind this strange word.
I didn't discover it's meaning after hearing it the first time, in the book store. It wasn't until a couple of years had passed, and I joined a yoga class, strictly for health, that I heard the word again. I was embarrassed to ask the instructor what it meant.She was a good friend, and I didn't want to sound completely stupid. Instead, I thanked her for the class, and headed out the door.
This was in the early days of computers, before Google became a household word for how to find the answer to any question. Back then, it was much harder to research foreign sounding words and phrases, and the librarian was little help. She peered at me over her spectacles with a quizzical look on her face.
"You want to know the meaning of nama... what? I don't believe I've ever heard that word before. How do you spell it?"
I didn't know how to spell it, and could barely remember how to say it. I asked coworkers. I asked all the smart people I knew. I searched high and low for the meaning of this strange and beautiful word. I became a challenge for me, to discover the meaning.
I couldn't even find the meaning in Webster's Complete Unabridged Dictionary. In vain, I searched high and low, turning over most rocks in my search for the meaning of the word Namaste.
I didn't dare ask my church friends what it meant. Many of them had already expressed concern that I was involved in something as outrageous as yoga. They warned about the dangers of eastern religion, and the lure of Buddha. Yoga was a foot in the door to sin, trouble, and expulsion from the church. They believed I was walking a slippery slope, right down the hill to hell.
One day, I was reading a yoga magazine, a gift from my friend the yoga instructor. As I was slowly absorbing the information in the pages, I saw an advertisement. Under the bold word Namaste, was the simple phrase, "The Spirit in me greets the Spirit in you."
And I pondered that spirit. The spirit in me. Greater than just I. Greeting the spirit in you. While that did not mark the beginning of my spiritual growth, it was an awakening. And as I studied the elements of spirit and energy, I began to understand. We are all a part of this great, powerful, ever flowing, ever changing universe. We are each a part of the other. And the divine energy that dwells within me honors the divine energy dwelling within you. We are all connected. And I greet you as an expression of myself.
A word so simple, so beautiful. And yet, it says so much. So much about who you are. About who I am. And about who we are, collectively.
Sharing the spirit with others
An exercise to awaken you awareness of the spark of divinity in each of us. As you encounter people throughout your day, meet their eyes. As your eyes meet, silently, in your head, say, "Namaste."
You don't have to say it aloud. Mentally greet the spirit that dwells in each person you meet today. Allow the spirit that dwells in you to greet the spirit that dwells in them.
This exercise is not to practice only with the people you like or love, but with all the people you encounter today, especially the ones you may dislike. Allow your spirit to bow before their spirit.
This brief, gentle encounter will not only change your life, but it will change their life as well.
Learning the meaning of the word Namaste was an awakening for my spiritual search. I realized that people all around believe in something bigger than themselves, regardless of their religion. I had always been fearful of other thoughts and ideas, but as my mind awakened, I learned that there was nothing to fear. Love is the ultimate answer, and in using the word namaste, I could offer love to the people around me.
Slowly, I emerged from the nightmare of organized religion. Condemnation hung over my head like a cloud, as I searched for God. Not religion. God.
Friends, who I had loved for so long now shunned me, as I embraced a spiritual understanding much greater and more encompassing than any single religion. I opened my heart, and although I lost some dearly loved friends, I gained so much more. I gained my life, and freedom from fear. I gained an understanding that God is so much greater than I had ever imagined. Because he exists, not in a vacuum or a bubble, or just the bible, but in everything. In all things.
In every one of us, there is divinity. There is a spark of the divine in all people, in all beings, in all things. This beautiful spark is the thing that enlivens us, and fills us with the desire to be greater, to love more, to be kinder. The spark of the divine exists in each one of us.
And today, the divine spark that exists in me bows down to the divine spark within you.